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Letters to the editor May 2020

Letters to the editor May 2020

We asked readers to send us their memories of the Snowball winter festival at Queen’s, which ran for several years in the 1960s. A number of alumni responded.

[photo of a T-Rex snow sculpture on Queen's campus in 1961]
Don McQueen

Don McQueen, Arts’63, shared a number of photos, including this great picture of the T-Rex sculpture on University Avenue in 1961.

[photo of Cheryl Metcalf Seaver and friends with snow sculpture]


I couldn’t resist sending this photo along when I saw the “Winter flashback” in the most recent Alumni Review. It awoke good memories. I was sad to learn that those wonderful snow sculptures and the winter carnival weekend were only a Sixties phenomenon. We did have a wonderful time watching the creation of the large and cleverly conceived snow statues. My friends and I lived in Baker House, next door to the Agnes Etherington Arts Centre. This sculpture was called “The Devil’s Advocate” and is Khrushchev pulling Castro and a missile in a little red wagon. Castro “was so cute I couldn’t resist the hug,” was what I wrote on the back of the photo. Sadly, I lost touch with Carol, Marilyn, Julie, and Alison in the picture with me.

Cheryl Metcalf Seaver, Arts’66

[photo of Carol Anne Matthews in 1964]

In January 1964 I had the dubious honour of being installed as “Queen of the Toilet Bowl.” The Science and Arts faculties held a raucous game of football in the snow, very energetic and playful – snow and men flying in all directions – with the “crowning” as part of the festivities. A golden painted toilet mounted on a wooden base was carried in, set like a throne on some beer boxes and the Queen was crowned with a small (new) toilet plunger tied onto her head. How was she chosen? It didn’t matter who; they just needed someone to sit on the bowl and go along with their silly satire. Whichever faculty sold the most tickets (I’ve forgotten whether it was for a dance or something else), installed their nomination. I had been forewarned the Science group had nominated me, and when I was called up, didn’t know quite how to take this satire (a toilet? a plunger?) but decided it was just a silly lark to enjoy. They also presented me with a beautiful sheaf of golden chrysanthemums, wrapped in Queen’s colours, perhaps for being a good sport.

Carol Anne (Matthews) Wien, Arts’65

[photo of people walking by a snow sculpture in 1961]

My wife and I had visitors for the Snowball weekend during the winter of 1960–61 and partook of a number of the activities as we toured the campus with our guests. The article refreshed the many memories of our time at Queen's.

A.C. Streith, Sc’63





I was at Queen’s from 1962 to 1965 for a General Arts degree and I well remember the Snowball Carnival. The snow sculptures were quite incredible. As it was the height of the Cold War and the Berlin Wall was very much in everyone’s thoughts, I remember one sculpture in particular showing a young woman climbing over the wall. She was supposedly wearing a Maidenform Bra which probably was at the height of their popularity then too. The title of the sculpture was “Going over the Wall in my Maidenform Bra.” Perhaps others can elaborate on this.

Sarah Jane Dumbrille, Arts'66


[photo of Lois Brown in 1967]
Lynn Brown, Sc’69, sent us this lovely pic of his wife, Lois (with the Cheshire cat behind her) at Snowball ’67.


[photo of A. Jose Mut in 1963]
A. Jose Mut, Sc'64, shared this photo of him in 1963.










[photo of snow sculpture of giant coins]
Thanks to Nick Darby, Arts'68, for this photo.
[photo of kids playing around a snow sculpture]
Jim Brennan, Meds'67, sent this photo of kids playing around the Meds'68 sculpture outside Grant Hall.


And finally, Lynn Hargreaves shared some great home movie clips featuring Queen's campus during Snowball '60. The film was shot by Lynn's dad, legendary Queen's football coach Doug Hargreaves, and features Lynn's sisters playing around the Snowball sculptures. Be sure to check out the piano sculpture featured in the film. There's a secret to how the sculptors got the piano looking so accurate: what do you think it is? (And if you were one of the sculptors, let us know! review@queensu.ca.)

[cover image of the Queen's Alumni Review issue 2, 2020 featuring Ali Velshi, Artsci'94]